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Take all the problems from the first album, fix them, and you pretty much have The Last Command. It’s a colossal effort that outshines the previous release and sets the bar very, very high for subsequent outputs. It’s got more emotion, soul, and vigor than the debut, which now makes this what: Classic? Legendary? Godlike? I dunno, one of those (or all of them) seems to be correct. Look at this tracklist: “Wild Child,” “Jack Action,” “Blind In Texas,” – those three alone obliterate the glam scene and help distance W.A.S.P. from those forgettable, clichéd bands that are all show and no play. Between the first five albums in what I consider the band’s Golden Age, I’d say (even while wearing a saw blade codpiece), that this album is on that classifies the '80s.
Production is so much better on this one than the debut; no more “distant” atmosphere, that’s for sure. Blackie on bass sounds great, giving more muscle and helping the production rid of any thin aspects. The bass lines generally follow the riff rhythm, but with more attention during key moments (primarily bridges) it’ll carry on it’s own weight trying to perform something more noticeable. Generally I’m a huge fan of bass independence, but the leads are really the real deal here. Holy mango juice and eggnog barbecue burger with cheese, ketchup, and fries while listening to Entombed’s Clandestine - the leadwork here is some of the best in the genre.
There are no fillers here; every song engages you in one way or another. Lawless’ focus is imaginative, with full devotion and passion instilled with better songwriting. Surely, the songs are still simple if you want to compare it to Necrophagist, but that’s what W.A.S.P. are best at. You want catchy, fun, lively, and concert worthy tracks? Then you really don’t need to look any further. Lyrically they’re still aiming towards partying, sex, relationships, and 1980s culture, but the way it’s done here compared to the last album is actually more solemn and interests the listener moreso than before. The best examples are in the more somber tracks, no less, and that’s exactly where we begin. “Wild Child” is sort of a semi-ballad, but it’s got more guts, glory, and depth to it than most any glam metal song. Blackie has never had such a more convincing vocal performance to my ears throughout W.A.S.P.’s 80s career, and I doubt I’m alone in saying that. His voice still retains that hoarse howl, but he sounds so sincere, sensitive, and pulls the listener in because he really gives a shit about what he’s singing.
Aside from admiration of the above track, Lawless gives no less than an A+ performance throughout the album. It isn’t the sole reason why all the tracks have more life to them, but it plays an invaluable role. He’ll scream, cry, bark, and chat with that grainy, sort of beastly yell on the album, leaving no breath left inhaled. For that reason, the choruses on every track are also incredibly melodic and fun to sing along to, which only further compliments the (more) serious verses. Also notice that Lawless sings in a rather southern-tinged style, be it for hospitable reasons or because it sounds awesome with this kind of music.
Once again I’m not too surprised to say that I can’t really delve into the drumming. It’s still the standard rhythm punching style that helps retain the colorful style of the music, but it's pratically the same pattern for every song! It’s your typical 80s echo kit, sounding crisper than on the debut, but that should always be a given. Away from the drums, the standout (with boots filled with booze) is the leadwork by Holmes and Piper, which is probably the best duo (for this album alone) to carry on the Downing / Tipton torch. “Wild Child” and “Cries In The Night” are the more personal and dynamic tracks, “Fistful Of Diamonds” and “Jack Action” are more driving, “Mississippi Queen,” “Blind In Texas,” and “Sex Drive” are the fun ones, and the title track and “Running Wild In The Streets” have leads that soar higher than the highest points of history’s many civilizations.
Not many people talk about it, but the title track is easily the best one on the album. While the other songs tend to accomplish one trait, “The Last Command” draws influences from all of them, culminating in my favorite riff on the album, brought together with commanding drumming and grouped with the most anthem of choruses. Solos don’t let up either, adapting themselves to their respective tracks while preserving their raunchy harmony.
Releasing this album didn’t exactly split W.A.S.P. from the glam / hair scene, but it established them pretty well in heavy metal as their own force to be reckoned with. Not until The Headless Children would W.A.S.P. truly sever their ties with the bullshit glam genre, but it’s a joke denying that this didn’t leave a blade mark. Give it a listen and go apeshit as I did – exaggeration plays a big role in curiosity, but only bullshit can go so far.